Ive been researching CUDA and GPU rendering lately and im about to be in the market to upgrade my workstation, im wondering which motherboard options will be most compatible with this technology in the next 2 to 3 years. (2009-2012) I do a lot of rendering and would really prefer to get as many CPU’s and cores as possible but i dont want to trade CPU power for GPU connectivity if the industry is about to change to GPU based rendering.
Ive seen dual and even quad chip MOBOs on the market but they general have Intel north bridges and arent designed for advanced graphics so they seem ill suited for my purposes but if im mistaken in this please tell me. Next up is the i7 cpu (LGA 1366) which only comes with an intel north bridge but has triple channel ram and all around higher numbers vs (LGA 775) with the nForce 790i ultra SLI north bridge, it would seem that nvidias north bridge should work best with GPU rendering but perhaps im wrong?
To summarize, Does CUDA and GPU based rendering (Gelato etc) require certian north bridges to function at maximum capacity and does the potential of GPU rendering trump multi-CPU in the next 2 to 3 years?
Any and all opinions would be greatly appreciated.
(Disclaimer: I’m only familiar with CUDA and know nothing about SLI, Gelato, etc.)
The main impact that the CPU/northbridge/motherboard seems to have on CUDA is the speed of host-to-device and device-to-host transfers. In this department, the uncontested speed winner seems to be the new Core i7 architecture with the x58 chipset and PCI-Express 2.0. Tests of these motherboards (search for “x58” to find the thread) show really impressive bandwidth, even using pageable memory, which is normally much slower.
You’re worrying about something that doesn’t make sense. GPU rendering is not mainstream. You have no idea if host-device bandwidth is a factor for Gelato. You don’t know if by the time GPU rendering does become big you’ll want a 4-GPU mobo or an ATI/OpenCL card or if NVIDIA will have some hissy fit with licensing (like it has with SLI) or who knows what.
Buy a computer for the CPU rendering you do now (and I hear i7 is great for that, or maybe you want a mini-cluster of cheap AMD’s), don’t spend too much money, and buy a new computer when it’s clear you want to switch paradigms. In any case, there’s no important factor that stands out right now that should be considered. CUDA works well on all platforms.